It appears the Senator from the Southern Senatorial District of Cross River State, Gershom Bassey, and his co-lawmaker representing Cross River North, Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe are on collision course over where the next governor of the State should emerge in 2023.
This fallout is not unconnected with the recent outburst of Senator Gershom Bassey at the Calabar declaration conference held last Saturday where he stated that zoning and equitable distribution of offices is the reason for the political stability of the State over the years.
Bassey whom political observers describe as the eagle of PDP in the State said it is the turn of the Southern Senatorial District to produce the governorship candidate of the party in 2023. He buttressed his stand by referencing an accord, Calabar- Ogoja which sanctioned zoning. In addition, he quoted section (14) (3) of the 1999 constitution which clearly supports zoning and power rotation to maintain national cohesion and unity of the polity.
Again, he referred to Article 7 (3) c of the PDP constitution which provides for rotation and zoning of party offices as well as the constitution of the ruling party- APC which also provides for the principle of federal character and rotation in the nomination and appointment to offices.
But the recently sworn-in Senator from the Northern zone, nicknamed lion of the Savanah, Jarigbe Agom in a post from his verified Facebook handle disagreed, arguing that the previous elections in the State have always been won by conquest, not zoning as power in his word ” is not donated on a platter of gold”. He challenged any politician who desire to be governor in 2023 to get on the arena and prove his or her worth by convincing the electorates of his suitability.
Senator Jarigbe who distanced himself from being an ethnic jingoist described himself as a crusader of good and effective representation.
It would be recalled that in September 2019 Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba who represented at the time, the Central Senatorial District, called for jettisoning of the rotation and zoning of the governorship slot in the State arguing that the arrangement has ended with the incumbent Governor Ben Ayade.
The LENS newspapers (tabloid) dated September 12, 2019, published a survey-based feature titled “Rotation Formula for Governorship Position in CRS should be Jettisoned_Sen. Ndoma-Egba”. The article was futuristic forecasting the likely unease in the political landscape of the State in 2023 having been burdened already with the opinion of Ndoma-Egba.
The survey sought opinions from critical stakeholders in the State on the subject matter but many declined comments apparently afraid of criticism and the possible backlash.
One of the respondents, Sam Bassey, an Abuja-based businessman, political stakeholder, and elder statesman in the State said ” this is not a matter for an individual to decide. It is for Cross Riverians to decide. I am therefore of the opinion that a stakeholders meeting of Cross Riverians from the three Senatorial Districts across party lines should hold for a decision that can stand the test of time to be reached.”
By: Archibong Emmanuel
( Snr. Reporter)